Page:Oliver Spence.djvu/39

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Strict monogamy prevailed, yet there were no marriage ceremonies, other than the public kiss, bestowed by the man upon the woman, who had consented to be his wife, and which kiss she also publicly returned.

Bananas, pine-apples, oranges, guavas, grapes, mangoes, bread-fruit, cocoa-nuts and many other tropical and semi-tropical fruits grew and still grow in great profusion there.

Both men and women wore a sort of silken, flimsy drapery, manufactured by a simple process, from the inner bark of a tree. The natives were handsome, and the manner in which they draped their stately forms harmonised well with their classic regularity of features.

Such, our Federal Explorers gathered from the Elder, were the character, resources and customs of this strange, primitive and amiable people. They were charmed, and felt inclined to follow the example of Dr. Leichhardt, and marry and settle down among them. But in a few months ambition gained its victory over them and they returned to civilization, their return being hastened by the discovery in the valley, of immense natural deposits of jasper and other precious stones.

On the return of the explorers a great sensation was created by their report. A syndicate was at once formed for the purchase of the jasper fields, and missionaries were sent under the protection of military for the purpose of converting these benighted heathen.

The natives refused to sell any part of their country, or to have anything to do with the missionaries, upon which the military gave them a lesson in Plutocratic Christianity and brotherly love, by promptly shooting a great number of them. The new-comers then seized the land, annexed the fields of precious stones and settled down to spread "Christianity," loathsome diseases, sweating, prostitution and other "blessings of civilization." A great tide of emigration from the coast to the interior set in and the newly-discovered country became a part of the Federation, under the title of the State of Leichhardt. But when the Revolution came, Leichhardt was among the first to declare in its favor, and to promise military assistance. The Federal Government deciding to chastise Leichhardt for its "insolence," sent its forces there, where they were met by, the Revolutionary army, and in the Great Battle (described in a previous chapter), completely defeated.